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secrets to successful canning (and a giveaway, too)


Bet that title got your attention.

I’ve been thinking, as the season gets going, and I make a few batches of jam and pickles, just to flex my muscles before teaching. And a few more batches to test some recipes. As I go through the motions, get my natural rhythms and instinctive moves fired up, as I doe-si-doe in my kitchen, I realize I’ve developed a whole choreography over the years, and I bet you will, or have already, too.

Today, I’m sharing ten things that get me through the canning season. My ten commandments of canning.

1. Time management. Don’t try to can when you are rushed. If you get slammed at work and can’t get home to make the  jam, don’t fret – that fruit can macerate longer. In fact, I’ve let it go for five days with no adverse effect. All that time, it’s preserving in syrup,  while resting, waiting it out, in the refrigerator. The sugar has already started to work its magic. After six, seven, eight days, it could ferment and you’ll make booze. Not such a bad thing. Or it may turn to vinegar. Also not a bad thing. So, relax. This is supposed to be fun, remember?

It’s possible to go from macerated fruit to finished jam-in-jars in one hour and forty five minutes. Two and half hours is a better estimate, providing the leeway for things to go awry. I can promise that multi-tasking while canning will result in something going terribly wrong. If you’ve never canned before, have all your notes and sites available so you can double and triple check. And don’t plan on chattering on the phone, doing laundry, running to the store, or anything else while jam is cooking on the stove, none of that. Focus, people.

2. Gather all your goods. Canning pot, saucepan, jam pot, funnels, cup measures, scale, thermometer, lid lifter, bubbler, jars, lids, rings, ladle, towels. By the way, if the flat lids have been warmed and the rubber softened, in preparation for processing, then are not placed on a jar – perhaps you heated too many lids? – they can still be used. Not until the seal forms, the ping happens, is the lid considered USED. I realize there is some confusion. Gather your mis en place – all the ingredients for your recipe. Be organized.

Fill the canning pot with water almost as soon as you think about canning and get it on the stove; it always takes so much longer to come to a boil when you’re waiting. Once the water boils, reduce the heat, cover, and keep it at a simmer until you’re ready to process. Sometimes this will mean the water has evaporated and might not fully cover the jars. This is one of the best reasons to have a separate saucepan for the lids and rings, full of already hot water. Top off the water in your canning pot with the saucepan water. Still not enough? Add the hottest water you can get out of the faucet. And don’t start counting processing minutes until the water has come back to a full boil.

3. Canning will not improve tasteless produce. Preserve the very best, at the very height of ripeness. Take a moment to smell your ingredients. Taste them. Do not buy inferior food. The fruit should smell so ripe, and so fruity, it’s almost like perfume.. Anything to be pickled should be firm and freshly picked. Tomatoes must not be mealy, but they can be very soft. Seconds are fine, but not rotten, underripe, or tasteless. Color is important, too. Green rhubarb will not make rosy rhubarb jam. To give you some context, I’ve read that Christine Ferber only uses fruit picked in the morning, after the dew rises, never after or during a rainstorm. Adopt this care to your produce, and your canned goods will be remarkable. Do your canning when the produce is ready, not when you are.

4. Dress for success. I have a favorite canning outfit. Light as air pants, long, to protect me from flying hot sugar. A well worn t shirt, so well worn, it must be worn OVER another shirt when I am around other people. Comfortable, sturdy shoes. I tie up my hair. I wear old glasses. It’s going to get hot and sweaty. And then it’s going to get hotter still. So get your uniform, and let the very act of putting on those clothes get you in the mood for canning. I have a favorite apron with a good pocket. A favorite thermometer. A spoon. But I’m silly and sentimental that way.

5. Put your left foot in, put your left foot out. Have a rhythm, a set way of doing things. Do you fill all the jars, then wipe all the rims clean, then attach all the lids? Or do you finish one jar at a time? I fuss with each jar, one after the other. By doing this the same way every time, I build in a physical act that feels familiar, so if something interrupts me, I won’t forget any steps. It’s in me.

6. Give back. Share your treats. You’ll thrill even the most hard-hearted. And then encourage these lucky recipients of your homemade goods to return the jars. Reusing jars is responsible, after all, and makes this whole preservation thing green and good for the planet. Tell your friends returns guarantee refills. Jar etiquettte.

7. Set the scene. You’ll want some inspirational, dancing, sing along background music. Or a book on tape (I find it’s really easy to give my full concentration while dutifully stirring preserves.) Or something to get you through the boring times. Ever mandoline ten pounds of jalapenos? Sometihing to distract the mind somehow brings focus to repetitive tasks.

You may be happiest with a canning companion – so find a friend. I love my alone time, so most of my recipe development comes from time spent in the kitchen by myself. But I’m also happy to share the experience, as I do with friends, and with students, for the frivolity and joy that swirls around the canning kitchen.

8. Pretty presentation. It’s lovely to use herbs to flavor jam, but most do not hold up well to canning, turning avocado green or black in the jar. Use whole, washed stalks, add them during maceration and remove before jarring. Vanilla bean, on the other hand, if used as a primary ingredient, looks very smart inside the jar, so cut it into short lengths and press a piece on the inside of the jar before filling. The same is true of a very thin lemon wheel. Slim orange zest. Or a seeded chile ring. If it’s in the recipe, and looks pretty, decorate away. Use whole seeds and herb stalks in pickling brine, or use a cheesecloth bag, then remove it before jarring. Powdered or dried herbs will make a brine cloudy and unattractive. If your processed jars have mineral deposits from hard water, add 2 Tbls. white vinegar to the boiling water bath to make your jars sparkle.

9. Be creative, and safe. Use your canned goods up within a year. Jam is so much more than something for toast. Try filling cookies, spooning into yogurt, add a spoonful to a cocktail. Warm fruit preserves and spoon it over pancakes. Mix jam with mustard and herbs and wine for a glaze for chicken or tofu. Use pickle juice when building a brine for chicken or pork. It has the same elements of acid and salt. Or add some chopped pickles to your next grilled cheese. Stir hot pickled peppers into mayonnaise for a kickin’ sandwich spread. Cure mustard, then loosen with wine and herbs and yogurt for a dip or sandwich topper. Use your foods. And if you are the recipient of a friend’s jar of goodness,  please open it, taste it, tell your friend how much you loved it. Or give honest feedback. But don’t just stick it on your shelf and forget it.

10. Celebrate. After all the hot canning, the steam, the sugar is over, take out pretty plates and tea cups and have tea and crumpets to test your jam. Or cheese and salami to partner with pickles. Or a cold beer. Or a cocktail. Or celebrate by making adorable labels. Just make sure to spend some time admiring your work. And when you’re invited somewhere, take a jar of your creation, it will start a conversation, inspire a cheese plate, ensure a great breakfast.

All ready to start canning? This is the year to do it, and to make sure one of you has everything you need, I’ve got a fantastic giveaway, thanks to the generosity of Le Creuset. (Shipping to the continental US only.)

Le Creuset will send one of my lucky readers a 7 qt. Round Oven, the perfect pot for preserving.  The winner will have a chance to pick their favorite color, too. Check out all the pretty colors here. I just love Le Creuset for offering up this amazing gift, so please go to their Facebook page and click Like, and follow them on Twitter.

To enter, leave a comment here – maybe you have a canning commandment to share ? Ways you dance around the canning kitchen? Or any questions? Recipes? I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll depend on a Randomizer selection process, and will announce the winner May 28th at 9am, on both my Facebook page and on Twitter @LeCreuset .

Happy Canning! If you’re all rarin’ and ready to go, try  Strawberry Rhubarb Confiture and Pickled Asparagus and Spring Onions, from my recent New York Times article. And another favorite, back in blog time, to my favorite Strawberry Jam recipe.

 

 

596 thoughts on “secrets to successful canning (and a giveaway, too)”

  1. I really love your website, and I follow you on FB. A dear friend and life mentor turned me on to you this last year. I plan to can/jar my first jam this summer. My mom did it every summer while I was young, but I haven’t tried it myself yet. I have the jars. Just waiting for local fruit to ripen!

    1. I just started a batch of Jalapeno jelly. I don’t know whether I would continue adding reds to my Le Creuset collection, or go straight to lime which I love. Luckily I found most of mine second hand when they were still made in France.

  2. Great tips!
    It’s not easy being the world’s most disorganized person and having ADD and OCD to boot!!! LOL
    I have to put a lot of thought and planning into big canning projects so I don’t become completely flustered.

  3. I agree with your tip #3 – use only ripe and ready produce. I got a “deal” on some green beans that had been picked a few days earlier. I canned them – they looked pretty – but they were a mushy mess! UGH! I fed them to the chickens… good for them – but a waste of my time. I’ve never done that again! Always fresh!

  4. I love canning, and in fact canned a double batch of your mango chutney today. I’m so looking forward to blackberry/blueberry season!

  5. I’m pretty new to canning and your suggestions are wonderful. Completely agree about the ritual of it, that it should be fun, and that if you wait too long you have a couple more chances for it to become something else!

    I love Le Creuset as well.. :) thank you for all you do.

  6. What a giveaway–I love my 5 1/2 quart le creuset and this would be fantastic. Even so, this post is great without a giveaway. I’m excited to do more jamming and canning this summer–I still get nervous about the process, but getting more into the flow. Absolutely re your comment on starting the water bath first thing–it sure does seem to take forever sometimes! Already follow you and le creuset on twitter, already like you on FB and just liked le creuset there now too. (Also love seeing you in the NYT, how exciting!)

  7. I always prepare one more jar than I think I will need. Nothing worse than having to run downstairs to grab more jars and rings right when you need to get things in the bath.

  8. I have found that I have to be totally in the mood to be canning. If not it doesn’t seem to come out well.

  9. I have to find some new kitchen music. Last year it was a Jimmy Buffett compilation which I danced to as I prepped, chopped and stirred my way through the summer fruits. Thanks for even more canning tips Cathy, you make it look so easy.

  10. No canning, not in years. No dancing around the kitchen, I’m way too old for that. However, both my kids have been bitten by the ‘bug’ and if I won anything (like this) at all, I’d have to decide which one to give it to. Hahahaha!

  11. So in “want”/”need” of a good enamel pot. I wore through the enamel on my last le creuset and have been eyeing a new one for too long! Thank for this giveaway.

  12. Really love your site and your insight!

    Hard to beat the combo of cheese with preserves. Love manchego with fig or mango and any triple cream with cherry or apricot.

  13. Hmmm….your list of commandments is great! I think the only thing I would add is to label those jars. You may think that you’ll remember what’s in each batch of jam and the date you canned but come late winter, those details might be a long lost memory. I prefer to label the lids so I don’t have to remove stickers from the jars.

  14. I am starting canning lessons this year through UC Davis Master Canners Extension Program. So excited!

  15. We bellydance in the kitchen! Practice a shimmiewhile stirring, figure eights while washing ingredients and dishes, just constant dance and laughter. I love my le creuset, but have never owned a new one ( speaks to their superior quality!) and I would love, love, love a new French oven to help preserve the harvest in our little organic hobby farm this summer.

  16. Every year I plan on jamming some fruit, and every year the season passes before I do it. Perhaps this post will inspire me to actually do it this year.

  17. Love canning fruits. Apple butter and fig jam make the winter seem a little brighter! Just like a nice stew. Le creuset is the perfect vessel for all!

  18. Wow, you totally bring back memories of my mom canning when I was a kid. I always mean to do some; I will make sure to accomplush it this year.

  19. I’m really excited for this years canning season! I just made some refrigerator “pickles” out of jalapenos :)

  20. Great tips!

    My favorite? Find a friend! Either one to teach, one to learn from, or simply one that inspires you! The best is when each of these is found in one person!

  21. I don’t know that I have anything to add to these.

    But I’m waiting for strawberry season! Last year I completely missed it, and the berries from the store are awful.

  22. I give some thought to an upbeat, kitchen-happy playlist that will be long enough for an intense canning session. Time flies while you dance that mess around.

  23. i like to can grape jelly (concord grapes) but the last three times it did not thicken up. i am about ready to give up.

  24. Have a playlist. I have to have music while I’m canning, whether it’s pickles or jams, or, God help me, the 40 quarts of tomatoes I got through last year. Music is key.

  25. I definitely have a rhythm when I can–it’s what enables me to get through 150+ jars of jam a day. One of my favorite tools to use is the rubber grippy mats businesses like to give out as advertisements–the ones they label jar openers. They are invaluable for holding hot jars while screwing on lids, and don’t get damp and burn you with steam like potholders do.

  26. My commandments for canning are to lay out everything before you start, always have a few extra jars ready, get a wide-mouthed funnel, label everything, date it, and share your bounty with friends and family.

    I literally just finished making strawberry-pineapple jam and strawberry-banana jam with fresh, ripe strawberries we picked at our local organic farm. It was CSA day yesterday and we made out with 2 big baskets of strawberries, that once hulled and chopped, made over a gallon of strawberry. The best part was the farm gave it to us free for being CSA members. You can’t best free. I made 11 half pints and 5 four oz jars of jam and I still have tons of strawberry left. I’m making strawberry-vanilla-rhubarb jam next.

  27. This will be my third season of canning and preserving, and I love it more every year! I spent Saturday canning rhubarb syrup, and vanilla rhubarb jam. I’m anxious to get my hands on some ripe strawberries soon!w

    Thanks for the article, many good tips for experienced and inexperienced alike.

  28. I can everything in my 5 1/5 qt. French oven, and frequently have thought that a 7 qt. would be a better fit! My canning tip (which has made my life much easier) is to add a bit of white vinegar to the hot water bath just before adding the filled jars. It prevents any film from forming on the jars due to worn enamel on your pot. I used to have to wash jars before putting them on the shelf!

  29. My number one tip is what you already mentioned: when rushed, just toss that fruit in sugar. It’ll keep until you find the time to enjoy the process. But, since you already mentioned that; another one is, for fruits that need peeling, I’ll often just cut them in half, simmer until soft, then food mill it all for butter or sauce. I get so many tiny, misshapen fruits that are wild-foraged or from small organic farms: save the peeling for the big, perfect fruits.

    I love, love, love my Le Crueset. Of course, a brand spanking new one is always welcome! :)

  30. You are right about getting your pot of water on the stove first thing!!
    My second favorite part about canning? The “ping” when the lids seal.
    First favorite thing is enjoying the flavors of spring/summer all year long!

  31. This will be my first year of canning, so thanks for the tips! Feeling a little nervous and overwhelmed. Does the syrup covering fruit have to be so sugary? Looking for options, suggestions…

  32. What a great list! I actually didn’t can much last year and found I really missed it– so feeling inspired to get organized and get back on it this year! I’ve missed having a pantry full of jams, pickles, relishes, and sauces at my disposal year round.
    Like you mentioned, not rushing is probably my biggest tip/plan as well (and why I didn’t do much last year– I was always rushed).
    I’ll add wear supportive shoes. I processed 100# of tomatoes in a day last year…barefoot. Big mistake. My feet were killing me!

    Would love a Le Crueset…and it would be my first!

  33. Great reminders, thoughtfully presented. I use my electric kettle to help top off the boiling water in the bath. And I usually clean my sinks, and sink drains, with baking soda and vinegar at the end of the processing and use the boiling water from the bath to rinse away all the drain gunk. Finally, only can the stuff you’re reasonably sure you’ll eat or give away. I canned stewed rhubarb one year– it was so-so. Then I did it again the next year and, boy, has it sat there. In fact, I moved both my rhubarb plants this year to a new bed and one appears to have not survived and I don’t care!

  34. I missed the peak of citrus so find myself in a lull, contemplating a batch or two of lilac jelly before the blossoms turn. Pectin is not a favorite, but I will need to use it to jell.

  35. I’m thrilled that Strosniders includes a link to your blog. Thanks for offering the giveaway. Now I’m going to read your strawberry jam recipe since that’s what I just canned, my first canning project ever!

  36. Why did it never occur to me to use LeCreuset for canning?! I usually use my heavy-bottom pasta pot, but there’s not enough surface for a rolling boil to do its work. This is one ritual I’ll definitely change with my next batch.

  37. I started out last summer with my new CSA and a few pickle recipes. Green beans, cucumbers and okra all turned out pretty great. Some awesome mulberry lime syrup also worked out pretty well. I think this year I might work up to some jams, but a gorgeous new pot would certainly help with confidence!!

  38. Great ideas and tips! I’ve been known to can when in a hurry, and it’s always a disaster! I’ve also been known to can until 3am! Although it’s not ideal, it’s my favorite time to can- the house is so quiet and distraction free! I’m going to try to can this year with some silicone gloves I bought at a hardware store. That way, I don’t have to worry about hot water, jar magnets, holding hot jars, jar lifters, etc. I’ve never tried it before, but hopefully it works out!! I do live in Alaska, and I notice they will only send to the Continental US (yes, we Alaskans HATE that!! I’m sure I speak for Hawaiians, also!), so if I win, I’ll send it to my nearest lower 48 relative! Won’t they be surprised! :)

  39. This is just my second canning season so am still perfecting my dance routine! Thanks so much for this post. Good ideas I hadn’t yet discovered.

  40. What a wonderful post – thank you! I am coming up on nearly a year of preserving, and recently have been looking back on everything I’ve made – as well as realizing I have some jars to crack and use up before their birthday comes around :) It is quite remarkable how quickly you do develop your own rhythm and groove, and I’m proud of how much I’ve learned and challenged myself, how I’ve expressed my creativity and produced some awesome foodstuffs, plus how I’ve shared the wealth – both of finished goods and knowledge. It is truly a joy. (I already follow Le Creuset on FB & twitter, and for the record if I win, I’m picking Fennel Green)

  41. Cathy, your excellent instructions put the Ball Blue Book of canning to shame. Your instructions are clear and informative and easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time to write these down.

    I have enjoyed your blog especially your canning and pickling musings. Thanks for sharing your weath of knowledge

  42. I LOVE canning – my current project is canning jams without using pectin…more stirring, but love the softer set and the fact that you can get away with using less sugar. I’m also starting to get into canning pickles!

  43. I started canning last summer and fell in love. Now, there are four of us doing it, so when we make something and end up with six or eight jars, we can trade. It makes it a little more economical and we get to try more things. We also have canning parties.

  44. I am going to can my own sugar-free pickles this summer, starting with watermelon rind. I remember eating my grandmother’s pickled watermelon rind as a child and look forward to making my own.

  45. I’m watching the cherries on the tree. Just little hard green bits right now. It seems like forever until July when they’ll be ripe, but it’ll also be here before I know it. Meanwhile, looking forward to trying some new recipes this spring! Oh, how I would love a new Le Creuset to try out along with the recipes! Happy Canning, everyone.

  46. Great advice, all. I love my Le Creuset for making jam. Starting the season today with your pickled asparagus. Maybe a few jars of strawberry jam.

  47. I can’t wait to start canning this year. I’ll “put up” twice as many pickles this year because they only lasted until April! Thanks for the chance!

  48. Wonderful tips! I have only canned a few times, but planning on getting more experience this year. I love pickled hot peppers, and remember eating home canned pickled banana peppers stuffed with cabbage and maybe some onions. It was the best thing I ever ate!

  49. I’ve been intimidated by the canning process but hope to face the fears head-on this summer and give it a try! Your tips and recipes will definitely help :)

  50. I can speak from experience that receiving canned goods from you is a wonderful thing. I’m about to use some of the last chipoltles you gave me in some strawberry jam. I think the one thing I would tell people who are canning is to follow the rules of acidity. You can’t can anything you want and while people may love your canned gifts, one gift you don’t want to give is the gift of botulism. Along with that is that if a lid pops up during storage, no matter how much you wanted to eat it you have to throw it out to be safe.

  51. this is such a great post! I especially love number 10. taking time to admire the work is the best part. and sharing too, everyone loves homemade jarred goods, made with care and love!

  52. We love your tips. Planning on a much larger haul from the garden this year, so preventing frustration and ensuring success is a top priority! Thank you!!!

  53. Thank you for a wonderful canning class yesterday! I’m enjoying a piece of the Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam Tartlette with my morning coffee.

  54. Last year, I dipped my toe into canning. Doing about a dozen jars of various pickles, some jams, and loads of peaches and tomatoes. With a year under my belt, I’ve now planned out the whole year – when to can what and how much. Having that initial year to figure it out (and also figure out the pace with which we consume our goods) will make this year more productive and ultimately satisfying.

  55. I love how engaged your audience is Cathy!!! And so many people that love and use your recipes. Great post, so thorough and all so true! I just made some Peach Rhubarb Ginger Jam..now on to 300 pounds of local Blueberries!

  56. what a great post.. I have all the equipment ready to can, but never have.. this will be my year. Looking forward to a great tomato harvest and to making strawberry jam for my son

  57. I’ve never canned before and am going to do my first canning this year. So happy I found your website and am now following!

  58. I tried making jams years ago when my kids were young. Both they & I loved the strawberry & blueberry jams I made. Eventually just stopped making them, hard to find time with kids activities & family obligations. Now kids are grown & my husband has started planting a garden with me & raspberries, blueberries & strawberries. I’m looking forward to starting with jam again & then trying to can other things. I love Le Creuset. I got my first piece this year, a red teapot. It’s so well made it even made a believer out of my husband. I would love to win this pot, this is the one I have really wanted. Thanks for the chance.

  59. I just took a canning class earlier in the spring; I’m excited to start canning! Would be nice to have something more substantial than my aluminum pot to make the jam in….

  60. I’m strawberry picking today, and plan to start canning in the next several days. I love your commandment, “remember, this is supposed to be fun.” Sometimes I get so caught up in feeling rushed, that I forget I do this because I love it. I’m going to try and remember that I can leave the fruit macerating and chill out myself…

  61. Love the idea of a new canning pot. I’ve been using mine for 35 years now and a fresh one would be lovely!

  62. I really love your website, We enjoyed the last of last years pickled asparagus a few days ago. This years batch(somewhat larger) is getting happy. soon to be enjoyed with some wine and goodies. I just love having little go to treats in my pantry. They perk up even the most exhausting day, and on a good day they are the icing on the cake! ….by the way I would love to win!

  63. Like you, I can hardly wait to make jam this season! I always add a cordial to my recipe – like limoncello to strawberry or cassis to blueberry or amaretto to peach. Thanks for your blog. I’m a faithful follower.

  64. You were already my go-to canning resource, and this post just reinforced it. Had no idea I could macerate for days! I’m sure that will come it handy as the fruit piles up…

  65. Yay for canning season! On using up jam: I got raves on a tart using some almost-a-year-old fig preserves in a delicious tart (recipe from Food 52 website- Crostata di Marmelatta di Fico, or Fig Jam Italian Pie). If my fig harvest is as prolific this year as last, I’ll be canning many dozens of jars of fig preserves again!

  66. “Do your canning when the produce is ready, not when you are.” What great advice – and well said!

    When I first started out, I wanted something to do with all the bruised, overripe, icky produce. Canning is definitely not it!

    Thanks for a great check list!

  67. Thank you for a greait blog. My favorite thing to can is tomato sauce. That way I can use lots of ingredients straight from my vegetable and herb garden. Thanks for the chance to win a piece of Le Creuset!

  68. Ok. Truth is…I’ve always wanted to make jelly, but never have. I read and read how to do it, but feel a little overwhelmed by it all. It seems easy enough, but what if I do something wrong and poison everyone?

    With your wonderful blog post I might actually just take the plunge! My rhubarb is ready to harvest right now even.

    I’ve been drooling over a Le Creuset for awhile now. Would be thrilled if I had one.

  69. I also use jar-lids tied together to form a rack. For more permanence, I use plastic “zip-ties” instead of string. You can get these at hardware stores in the electrical department.

  70. Use canning jars that are a practical size for you and your family. We made some lovely marmalade in some “way too large” jars. Next time, they will be smaller, and we will use more jars.
    Also, I can with my husband, who is very organized and calm. This helps beyond measure.

  71. This gets me in the mood to can! Hoping to pick strawberries this week and make my first jam of the year! Appreciated the tips about using herbs in maceration. I put some fresh rosemary leaves in a blood orange marmalade last year and the rosemary turned dark brown over time and tasted too strong (almost medicinal!) Thanks for sharing your experience – just discovered your site!

  72. My daughter and I are signed up to take one of your canning classes in September. We are so excited!! A few years ago, my daughter was totally intimidated by attempting to cook at all. Motivated by her desire to make healthy food for her young children, she now cooks, bakes and studies nutritional information. Canning will be so much fun together.

  73. So happy to meet you! I’m unemployed for the first time in many many years and have resolved to begin canning and preserving this summer. I’ve gathered lots of hard info, but yours are the best “mentor/friend” tips I’ve read anywhere. Thank you! I look forward to “liking” your FB page, but don’t use twitter. I haven’t begun purchasing my equipment yet, and this gorgeous apple green pot could be most welcome — and match my tea kettle! Thanks, again. Fingers crossed that I win!

  74. Great to hear that leaving the fruit macerating is just fine. One less thing to stress out over. I have SO MANY strawberries this year; it will be the year to make extra strawberry jam.

  75. I just love this post! So many great tips, even for people who have a few years of canning under their belts.
    This year, I’m just getting together my recipes. Tomatoes, of course. A wonderful plum chutney I found last year. Gherkins or cornichons….if I can find those baby cukes. So many recipes…
    That Le Crueset looks fab!

  76. My Le Crueset is 25 yrs old, the lid is cracked, the enamel worn and while it is still a trooper, a younger, bigger cousin would probably give it a friendly boost to keep on going!

  77. Thank you for the wonderful article about canning, I am still fairly new to it so I have no “commandments” to share. But I will say that it fills my heart with contentment each time I am able to can and then share the wonderful homemade goodies with my family and friends!!

  78. Don’t can when you’re in a rush–so true! Growing up, my dad would forage for chokecherries and elderberries and bring home buckets of them so my mom and I could make jam. We’d set aside a whole afternoon to sit on our front steps, plucking the tiny ebony berries from their stems. By the time we’d finish, it’d be nightfall and we’d spend the evening making jam together. It wasn’t something that could be rushed and time spent with my mom is something I treasure, especially since moving four hours away from home. When I attempt to can these days, I find myself making “quick fig preserves” or “raspberry jam on the fly” and don’t take the time to enjoy every step of the process (probably because I’m canning solo and don’t want to admit that I miss my mom!). Anyway, thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy :)

  79. Love your posts, especially the ones about organizing. Your blog has inspired me to go back to small batch canning, something I did years ago. I have already put up an awesome mango chutney, some sweet pickle relish, some fig balsamic jam, and some tomato jam. And you’re right, the sharing is best. My sister has goats and makes fresh goat cheese that we enjoyed this weekend with all of the above. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

  80. Getting ready to macerate some strawberries and rhubarb and then it’s off to jam can land! So in love with the rhubarb of it all….

  81. I haven’t done the type of canning you are doing in years. When we lived in North Carolina we had a huge garden on our property and I had a great friend who loved to can with me. We would plan an entire day for pickles and tomatoes and then another for jams. I think I let high altitude scare me when I moved to Colorado and, well, did not have the property or the garden either.

    But I do remember that rhythm; our dance as it were. Everything in it’s place and each of us our jobs and we had such fun…growing, canning and yes, giving away the fruits of our labors too.

    I’ve started back in baby steps with just a bit of jam. But I had the most amazing, locally produced bread and butter pickles the other day; I could have eaten the entire jar in one sitting. At $5 a jar I’m thinking I might want to step a bit further and make some of my own again. Love your posts on canning…they are most definitely nudging me along!

  82. I absolutely agree that it should be fun, and I always have music playing in the background to remind me of that!

  83. I love canning now my Mom used to do it and I never learned how until after she died and we wanted her pickles so my Dad and I figured out her recipe over a couple years since he helped her every year so I stared with Dill pickles and now do Jam and everything else I can think of. I really enjoy it!!

  84. Thanks for the great tips. I find the time management reminder especially helpful. I’ve often started a canning project too late at night, overly optimistic about how quickly I can get it done.

  85. I love the idea of canning to make the flavors of fruit i love like strawberry rhubarb. Can’t wait to try these tips.

  86. I love canning, which is good because our large, country garden provides us with all sorts of goodies for canning. As I glance out the window, I see that my white grape vine already looks as if it’s on steroids. Because of many spring rainfalls, everything is soooo green. I’m hoping that it rains for a while longer because that keeps the deer from eating my roses, and I really want to make rose petal jellly this summer.

    Your blog is so inspirational, Cathy. I find myself already looking forward to canning season. I really want to experiment more this summer by using more wine compliments in my jellies and jams, pickling a wider variety of vegetables, and using fresh herbs much more frequently.

    I also like my moments alone in the kitchen, focused, reflective, creative. Just another benefit of canning.

  87. I think this whole post is just marvelous– I spent the day yesterday making 3 kinds of jam, rhubarb ketchup and spicy beer mustard, and I recognize so many of my own habits/rituals in what you wrote. I was wearing my canning pants and wielding my favorite spoon… Thank you!

  88. I just kicked off my canning season yesterday, and I agree with all your tips – especially #s 1 & 2. I took the time to set out everything I needed, organized it all according to the various recipes I’d be using for my jams, and it made the whole process that much easier. And I agree about focus – my canning partner started to check email when I yelled, “No multi-tasking during canning! Ever!” :)

    Thanks for the blog!

  89. I only started canning as of last year, as you know. :-) Your advice, tips, and tricks have been invaluable every time I can something new! I’m still pulling my strawberry jam and pickles out from last year. For some reason, my pie filling has sat there all winter, might be time to pull that out!

  90. For small recipes I will be using my bread machine this year. I recently found out the I am a diabetic so by making my own I can control what I put into them. As for my much needed larger batches this would be perfect (husband and kids get real sugar in their jams). Made apple lilic jelly couple weeks ago. Really was a nice treat. Thanks for the chance to win and for the website ….always gotta have a friends recipe for canning.

  91. You are my canning superhero – I look forward to canning so much this year – I did my first canning with orange marmalade, blood orange marmalade and meyer lemon – earlier this year – it was so exciting to hear those tops pop! I would love to win one of those beautiful pots! Great giveaway and great post as always.

  92. I’ve never canned before and only tried to make jam once, but reading your blog makes me really want to get going right away! I’ll have to go strawberry picking this year and make some strawberry rhubarb jam just like grandma did!

  93. I am new to canning but we have greatly enjoyed the few things I have made so far. My favorite has been a spicy peach salsa. Can’t wait to do more this summer!

  94. I love your advice….it seems like those who dance and delight in the ritual of canning are on good company here. Viva la rhubarbe !

  95. I really got “hooked” last year with your Raspberry Chocolate Sauce! Everyone loves it!! Thank you, Thank you:)

  96. My grandmother canned/preserved and I loved her strawberry preserves. I have never canned…consequently can’t even declare myself a novice. But I can say I am enthusiastic!! I purchased the Ball – Blue Book to get an understanding of the basics. But, I love perusing your website for your canning/preserving recipes. I’ve also shared it with several friends. My husband passed the NYT article on to me.
    Many thanks!
    Pam

  97. I love this site! I was looking at all the prior posts and saw a lot of talent there! You are all awesome! I can’t wait to try some of the goodies here!!

  98. I wish I had learned canning from my grandmother! She canned all the time, but I have no idea where to start. I guess “city girl” is no excuse anymore!

  99. I love your advise and I agree with you about canning as an alone time thing. I can’t get my rythmn if I am chatting with a friend. Usually Public Radio on the weekend to get me going. Thanks for the contest! Paulette

  100. I want to be a wonderful canner! Last year I tried making strawberry rhubarb preserves and it didn’t quite set up, but was wonderful on French toast as a syrup!! I am going to keep trying though. Do you have a recipe for sour cherry preserves? That would be my favorite. I plan to keep trying till I can can without always having things not turn out.

  101. I’ve been canning for more than a few years now with a range of results – one big thing that I swear by is that I blanch my tomatoes for a couple of seconds before peeling, de-seeding and ultimately a 50% reduction into ‘sauce’. It’s more labor intensive at the front end, but the result is pure pulp that holds it’s color beautifully and makes for a very turn-key cooking experience for the rest of the year.

  102. I would love to win this Le Creuset!!!! I fell in love with it at the CIA, and would love to have a piece of my own!!

    I love to dance around the kitchen when I can!! And I am all about the good music! Last year was my first year canning, and I was a bit timid. This year I am going in full steam ahead!!!!

    I do have a question though. I have never macerated my berries first before jam…. how would I go about doing it? And how does it make the Jam different?

    Thanks!!!!

    xoxo – Jessica aka Bellacake

  103. I absolutely love canning. Well, aside for the hot hot kitchen! I’ve never tried to do any jams,but I would like to try that this year if I can find any nice patches around here. Last year I canned everything for baby food. I found that the sweet potatoes never sealed. I gave it plenty of room and made sure the jar rim was spotless. Do you happen to know why they all popped open? Awesome giveaway!

  104. What a generous giveaway! We found our canning mojo last summer and are in love. Mustard, salsa, pickles, jam – you name it. Can’t wait for the season to hit full swing!

  105. Get involved with food swaps! They’re a great resource for inspiration since you get to see and taste what other people are canning, and you may even make friends with a few more well seasoned canners. (Also, pickle EVERYTHING. Trust me. EVERYTHING. And experiment with the spices and flavors too. Yum!)

  106. This was a great article, both for newbies and experienced canners. I am looking forward to canning some soups this year from goodies from my garden. It will be so fun to open a jar in December and know that I grew those carrots, beans and peas!

  107. Thanks for all the great tips! This is the year I am hoping to play with flavors a bit on my own now that I feel comfortable with the canning methods I’ve learned through books and helpful people like yourself!

  108. Great idea to always do everything in the same order so if you do get interrupted (kids anyone?) you know where you left off.

  109. Your website is a Godsend to nervous “canners”! The #3 tip to always use fresh is so important to a perfect result! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

  110. I love to can pumpkin. There’s something about it that just screams fall to me. And I think canning is always more fun when you have friends that love to can with you. My best friend is as into canning as I am and I’ve been doing her canning for her while she’s in law school and I can’t wait to have her canning with me when she’s finished.

  111. Oh goodness! Just got our first Le Creuset piece as a wedding gift – this larger size would be incredible for cooking down bigger batches of deliciousness. I canned jams and jellies as wedding favors and can’t agree enough with the advice around not canning in a hurry – relaxing and enjoying leads to better results. Lovely post!

  112. If the weather is too hot or I am too busy to get to it I will freeze the fruit I use for jam in the quantity needed for the recipe so when I have the time or the kitchen cools off I can just defrost the right amount of fruit with no waste.

    This is an awesome giveaway and a great blog. I look forward to reading more great canning tips!

  113. I love Commandment #5 and I totally agree. The rhythm and swing of canning is so satisfying, and you have a beautiful row of jars before you know it. As for the Le Creuset, I’m in love with all the blue options–who wouldn’t love a turquoise pot?

  114. This was a good article, and it got me back in the canning mood – I was thinking about taking this year off. Thanks! :)

  115. Loved the article. I put up 6 pints of strawberry-vanilla jam this weekend with home-grown strawberries from a roadside stand.

  116. I am starting my second year of canning and I just can’t wait to get going! Most of last years stock is gone now. I am going to have to double my efforts this year!

  117. I have only canned once, years ago, but recently moved out to the country and have a wonderful root cellar I am pumped to fill up with good things! loving your site! CAN’T WAIT TO GET STARTED!

  118. The thing that stuck out the most to me in your post was to share the jars but also OPEN what you get.. I was so sad to see a jar of lemon balm jelly, pear butter and bread and butter pickles just sitting in my friends pantry *three years later* ~sigh~ She coulda just told me she wasn’t going to eat them.

  119. I spent many hours last summer and fall in Serbia canning and preserving, which moved me from the position of a novice, to an intermediate in preserving department:) I just loved looking at all those jars and knowing that I DID it! My best looking jam was yellow damson plums and kiwi.
    And who does not love Le Creuset?

  120. I’m pretty new to canning and your suggestions are wonderful. Completely agree about the ritual of it, that it should be fun, and that if you wait too long you have a couple more chances for it to become something else!

  121. When it comes to a glut of fruit or tomatoes and I cant do them all at once, I freeze them until I have time to do that. Works out great cuz later on I often find bags of fruit in the freezer I forgot about and Im able to can them up anytime of yr. Sometimes some of the best blends of jam have come from things like that. Love that Le Cruset pot……..throw me into the randomizer please! :)

  122. Trying to balance canning while keeping a toddler entertained:). Thanks for the time saving tips and the great giveaway!

  123. Thanks for the really great tips! I canned my first batch of strawberry preserves this weekend. It was wonderful to get in the kitchen and make a mess. :)

  124. Wonderful, wonderful post. I resonated with so much of it, especially loving alone time working on recipes in the kitchen — preferably while listening to my favorite music or a podcast. Enjoyed seeing you in the NYT last week. Thanks for this giveaway!

  125. I agree with the comment about using the freshest fruits/veggies possible. I pick and can within minutes, rarely hours; nothing left for a day unless it is macerating in sugar. I have the hot water bath heating and everything organized before heading out to the garden or orchard. I also agree with not canning when busy, stressed or over worked–just makes for more problems. Having a friend help is wonderful, two hands do make the prep work go faster. Thanks for the give-away; I would love a new pot and have my color all picked out.

  126. I love your “rules”! Very helpful for those of use who’ve tried canning a time or 2 or are wanting to but wary because we think we don’t have the time.
    Thanks for the inspiration! And what a great giveaway! As my current “pots’ are actually antique kettles from Gigi, the Le Creuset would provide me with a much more appropriate vessel in which to prepare my fruits!
    Thanks again!

  127. I love canning. I can’t wait for things to start ripening around here so I can restock my shelves at home.

    I’ve been saving my pennies toward a Le Creuset pot. It would be absolutely lovely to win this give away and put that money toward something else.

    Thanks for sharing!

  128. I have been canning since I was in my early 20′s (I am now 52) while other girls were out burning bras & thumbing their noses at the stove and kitchen arts. Now those women are begging for my homemade goodies:) As our country struggles economically and most of us face personal financial challenges, I spend cents to make a jar of jam instead of a couple of dollars at the grocery store. Plus, it is fun and gives me a sense of pride when I look at a glistening jar of “jam jewels”. After finding a couple of great blogs (yours included) I want to expand my canning repertoire and develop new jam flavors. Thanks so much for all the wonderful information and tips!

  129. I love the idea of a canning outfit! I usual have yoga pants and a t-shirt on. I get ready by hauling my supplies up from the basement pantry and putting all of the tools in their place in the kitchen. I love canning projects.

  130. What great tips/ideas. I love the one about listening to a book on tape.

    I am like you and enjoy my alone time while canning so this is a perfect idea for me. Thanks!

    Thanks for the chance to win this great giveaway too :)

  131. What a lovely bundle of canning tips and habits. It is a dance, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to making more than 3 jars of dilly beans this year. And some new pickle.

  132. Oh thank you, those tips are so helpful. I have a hard time making that first batch, once that is made, I am good to go.

    I’d love a Le Cruset pot, I have only ever fondled one, no ownership yet.

  133. Pickles always seem to hide in my refrigerator a day longer than they are supposed to. Thank goodness canning is forgiving!

  134. I am really looking forward to doing some canning and preserving this year. I have very fond memories of my Mother canning tomatoes and canning always makes me think of her!

  135. I have the fondest memories of my grandmother and aunt canning in the summer. The pickled beets have always been my favorite. I look forward to starting this tradition in my family, since they love the garden and knowing where food REALLY comes from!

  136. Great article! Your blog is new to me, I shall add it to my reader. I’ve put up the equivalent of 85 1/2 pints this Spring- various jams and jellies (even wild violet), and pickled ramps. It is fun and so very satisfying to hold a jar in your hand, and look at it in the light. I’ve even been able to share some with friends, and everyone’s happy!

  137. I have been making my own homemade pectin for years. Cooking down the apples till i get a beaurtiful thick liquid pectin to use to make all my homemade jelly and jam! It is very satisfying. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!
    Kimberly

  138. I have dreamed of owning a Le Creuset Oven. I’m in my 60′s and still can’t afford one. It sure would make my time in the kitchen easier and more productive. It’s strawberry season. I love pairing strawberries with rhubarb. That would be my first canning project.

  139. One of my friends was recently gifted a le creuset round oven, I told her she’d better sleep with one eye open or it might disappear on her! I purchased a splatter screen to reduce the amount of molten jam trying to find its way to my skin, it’s great.

  140. I have been stalking the strawberry farmer at the Farmer’s Market, eager to begin my canning this season. I only managed 4 jars of strawberry jam last summer before the strawberries left for the season, and this year I will not be caught unprepared! He assures me, next week he’ll have strawberries! I can’t wait!

  141. My goal this summer is to do some canning and preserving. We have lovely fruits and vegetables here in the Pacific NW. Thank you for all of your wonderful information!

  142. I had a lot of New Year’s resolutions this year and canning was one of them. I believe there is nothing more radical than being self sufficient. So far I have canned 2 batches of soup. Enjoyed the process, but it would be even more enjoyable if I had all the right tools, instead of make shifting. Enter a contest?, Sure sign me up!

  143. I must have music if I am canning alone. I prefer to tag team can. Either the hubby or daughter or friend. Great talking time! Wonderful post. I love your hints. Thanks for sharing and the opportunity to win a fabulous prize.

  144. After seeing canned goods at the farmers market last weekend, priced at $12/each – I finally bit the proverbial bullet and processed my first 8 half pints of peach jam last weekend using a giant tamale pot (too big for the job, but what it’s what I had with a rack in it). Only 2 jars remain, if that says anything. It has definitely given my confidence a boost and the roots have taken hold. Mise en place, indeed.

    This is a very nice giveaway, and am glad to have found your site!

  145. Don’t be afraid to small batch experiment with flavors! That’s how I ended up with blackberry-lime jam & peach-rhubarb jam…soo good! :)

    Know what you & your family won’t eat. As in, if you’re the only one in your family that likes pickled things, don’t make ‘em! (Or make very small amounts.)

  146. Have just discovered your site, and love the fact that you are so enthusiastic about preserving food, and that a growing number of young women are sharing that enthusiasm.

  147. I love your comment about dressing for success, I found a pattern for an apron the other day and all i could think was “this was an apron fit for a Domestic Goddess” :P . Haven’t started canning yet, but I have high hopes that the MIL will break out her old canning supplies and we can work up some canning goodness together :)

  148. I love the tips and ideas you have — I am really looking forward to doing some preserving and canning this summer. Canning always reminds me of my Mother’s home-canned tomatoes, all lined up in the pantry. It’s such a good feeling!

  149. I have a question that’s been bothering me for a loooong time. Why, when making jams and jellies, are we required to sterilize jars – but not when doing other kinds of canning? Or, in other words, what is the point of processing jars of jam if the processing is not sterilizing the jar – what is it accomplishing?

    Seems to me that there is wasted work here – either we shouldn’t have to sterilize the jars, or we shouldn’t have to process them. Doing both is redundant. (I’m thinking of the farm wife I worked with in France, who made jam with sterilized jars and didn’t process them.)

  150. Great post. For me, the key to canning is not procrastinating. Plan to can straight after you pick the fruit or else (at least with me) it may never get done.

  151. i so long to have an enamel pan i only cook with castiron skillets and am trying to save up my $ for a good enameled dutch oven!! i would so love to win one and can say it would be put to such good use

  152. I’m going to can for the first time in many years with my kids this summer. I loved canning with my mom and am excited to share this with my son and daughter.

  153. Just discovered your website thru Food in Jars – love it! Your ten commandments are a real help! I followed LeCreuset on FB and Twitter in hopes of winning this wonderful offer. Trying to follow your site on FB too – so far no connection but I will keep trying! Thank you!

  154. Loved the “canning commandments”. Last year was the first time I canned without my mother,(I had not canned in the 7 years since she passed away) and the first time I canned with my daughter. I have a favorite apron to wear (which was my mothers) and I in turn handed down my childhood apron to my daughter. It was strange to can without her for the first time as a child with lots of siblings we had canning days where we all took part in helping prep, clean, fill, and boil. Doing it solo was a lot of work. The rewards were great since I was able to can a lot of things that I grow on my little farm. My daughter can’t get enough homemade jam and is already excited for this year. I will be doing something newthis year which is hosting a canning party for freinds that want to learn (and that have cleaned out my larder already). Should be exciting as the first get together is this weekend. Neighbors have already made requests for this year so looking forward to a steamy hot kitchen. Plans are already in the development stage for an outdoor canning kitchen on a screened in concrete slab.

  155. I listened to you on NPR one morning and found myself inspired. So far, I have only canned whole tomatoes to use as a base for sauce and soups. But I had so much fun doing it! Now that I am making home made yogurt, I have good reason to start canning fruit too! OH, and the sauerkraut that is brewing… It will be canned in a month and entered into our county fair! Thank you for sharing your kitchen wisdom! Who knew canning could be so much fun!

  156. I recently started canning after growing up watching my mom and grandma work on it. I adore cracking open a jar of homemade jam or syrup in the middle of winter. The smell alone is worth it – not to mention the taste!

  157. There’s nothing I like better than making a hot summer kitchen hotter by canning. Freezing the produce and preserving in the winter? Never. Where’s the fun in that? A hot summer kitchen with a Le C. pot in a hot summer color? Even better. Lovely post and giveaway, Mrs. W.

  158. Love, love, love Le Crueset … I canned when I had a plot in a community garden when I was newly married. I sweated in an upstairs apartment, then moved to a place that had a derelict outdoor kitchen I brought back to life — still sweated, but the house stayed cool. Then, life got complicated and the canner went into storage. Now, moving into empty nest-dom, life’s becoming simpler and I live in a climate perfect for year-round gardening AND an outdoor kitchen — totally inspired by the couple summers from my past. Happy canner again.

  159. I like I can with a friend. It helps the time go by quicker and eases the strain I having to do everything all at once when the jam is ready to be jarred!

  160. Love canning, and i love to have music on and get “lost” in the moment of cooking and canning and making fun things, and then i Love to go to the grocery store and walk by all the items i don’t have to purchase!

  161. This is a great list! I’m especially glad you point out that lids don’t count as “used” until after the ping! The first year that I canned I prepared WAY too many extra jars and lids for each batch and ended up throwing away some perfectly good lids.

  162. I tried a strawberry Chipoltle jam last year that came out incredible. I was a little afraid of it at first since I kind of winged it. Four jars as on my shelves for 6 months. Finally got the nerve to try it and it was amazing. 1 week later and all the jars were gone. For a small batch run of strawberry jam (4 jars) I ground up two med sized dried Chipoltle peppers. I left the seeds and everything and it looks just beautiful and smells and tastes even better!

  163. Second generation Le Creuset user who has worn through her (non-Le C) enamelware canning pot! Help me keep on canning on (uncountable generation canner- at least 3 that I know of personally:)) so i can taste summer’s goodness during the long upstate New York winters! Very lovely post Mrs. W!!

  164. I do more fermenting than canning but am planning to make jam this year. As my garden grows larger I’m thinking of more ways I can preserve my harvest!

  165. I already like your page and Le Creuset on FB. I can’t even find the words to say how happy I would be to win this. I’ve admired their products for so long but never have the money for them. I’m currently still getting trough my ramp harvest. Looking forward to asparagus and strawberries!

  166. It’s all in the prep work – I cannot emphasize that enough! Best to have everything ready to go rather than scrambling around your kitchen trying to find the stupid jar lifter while jam is burning.

  167. An electric kettle is an essential part of my canning batterie de cuisine. It keeps boiling water handy for topping off my canning pot without using a burner or adding as much steam to the kitchen. I’m looking forward to replenishing my store of preserved figs this year- just about the simplest thing to make with such a huge pay off!

  168. This is my canning maiden voyage!!! First year rookier here. I have frozen many things through the years, but never canned. I just purchased 100 jars plus a big canning pot from a family off craigslist! Am I ready or what? I think I will start with some jam — which of your recipes to try first? Hmmm …

  169. I love your commandments, but I cannot pay attention to a recoded book for te life of me. My mind wanders on its own, I guess. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway. Who wouldn’t love a new pot?

  170. I resurrected my canning supplies about 3 years ago and have not stopped. My biggest hit so far, blueberry Jam. I cant wait to make some more.

  171. LOVE Le cruset
    Like you& them on FB
    Can’t wait to can this summers bounty.
    Especially appreciate the reminder to use the BEST produce!

  172. What a lovely, inspiring post! We just bought our first house and I can’t wait to can in it! The stove is next to huge patio doors so I’m hoping it won’t get too hot this year. I love the idea of a “canning uniform” :) I tend to wear my yoga headband or else my curly hair goes instantly frizzy with all that steam!

  173. my mom and uncle taught me to can when i was very young, and i’ve been doing it for years, since having children of my own. we love trying new recipes and i can’t wait to try some of yours!

  174. I just discovered your blog, but not the joys of canning. It is my current obsession and am so happy that the farmer’s market is up and running again so that I can get busy!

  175. I prefer to make jams in small batches as I love to try different things (grapefruit jam & cucumber-ginger jelly), but no one else in the household will try them. Applesauce is another thing….grandchild #2 loves it!

  176. Your canning rack is genius!
    I’m going to make one soon.
    It would be great to use it in my new le creuset enamel pot!!!
    :)

  177. My only advice is to open up the windows and turn on a fan – canning quickly turns my kitchen into a spa. Not a welcome feeling on a summer day in Virginia!

  178. I was looking in odd nooks and crannies in my kitchen for eight ounce jars for the strawberry vanilla jam that I will make this week (macerating away in the fridge) and found some tucked away from long before I ever made jam. One is still labeled ‘Colorado Peach Jam by Ann’ — was a Christmas gift years ago. As I type I’m waiting for news from her on a biopsy done last week after 10 years being cancer free. Jam and life intertwine is mysterious ways.

  179. I am currently serving overseas in Italy with Italian jars for canning. I have had two batches now can properly and sit for a week and unseal. Any tips? I’ve followed the water bath times and even let them sit a little longer. I’m almost ready to ship Ball jars over here! I appreciate your post and thanks for the chance to win!

  180. I am trying to remember this season that everything doesn’t have to be a huge batch, I can use up leftovers and make small batches. I made zucchini pickles and strawberry mint jam to use up some herbs and extra zucchini and strawberries that we weren’t getting through fast enough this weekend. Both just went straight in the fridge and I didn’t pull out all the tools!

  181. I have a room full of canning jars lovingly scrounged from yard sales and second hand stores. I’m ready to start jamming….if only I had a La Cruset pot for my ingredients!

  182. Love the tips. I’m a self taught canner and love making jams and pickles. I have learned that if you messed up with jam and it doesn’t set up for you. You’ll have some of the yummiest syrups you can find :)

  183. I have been away from canning a few years now, but since I am moving back to TX I plan on getting back into it. Thanks to your site and food in jars’ I have been learning things that I did not know and new tricks to make it easier. Thanks to people like you a once dying art is coming back to life.

  184. Make sure you have enough of your ingredients. I tend to run out of sugar.

    Pick your fruit/vegetables whenever possible–they will taste better.

  185. I watch embarrassingly bad action flicks or movies I swooned over as a teen (Pretty in Pink, et al.) when I can. Just enough to keep me from being bored and not enough to distract. And it’s the perfect excuse to watch dumb stuff :)

  186. I’ve just stumbled on your blog and am hooked!! I am hoping to learn how to make jams and jellies this summer and to do some canning of our most favorite veggies. This giveaway would be the answer to our prayers to accomplish this! The round oven is gorgeous in Flame, Dijon, and Ink.

  187. That pot is beautiful! I guess my one suggestion for an afternoon of canning would be to look up several different recipes for the product you want to make, from a variety of trusted sources, and learn where you can adjust things and where you can’t (safety of acidity, etc). I always end up with not-quite-the-right-volume of this to that, but I can often substitute what I’m missing in fresh strawberries with some frozen berries, or reduce the sugar when I don’t want things as sweet.

  188. I have been canning for about 8 years. I try new things every year, but I got a pressure cooker for Christmas and now I really need to step up my game. Can’t wait to see what great recies are in your book. Keeping my ingers crossed to win the pot too!!

  189. Love love love your tips! Especially about not fretting and what to wear!! I am new to canning/preserving/jam making and I’m very happy to have an enamel pot but alas it is not the ultimate pot!
    Anyway I am a new follower and I look forward to your new posts!!

  190. Love the new blue, got the garden in and the carrots thinned and weeded. So ready for fresh everything!

  191. #2 speaks to me. I am so disorganized until it’s time to can. Everything has to be out and ready and where it is supposed to be before I can start. I’d like to say it’s because I’m so sensible, but it’s really the result of learning from experience…

    Also, there’s always room in my kitchen for another enameled pot :)

  192. I just found your blog, I appreciate all of the great information! I’ve got my garden planted and I plan to can veggies for the first time this summer!

  193. My secret to canning is laughter with my spouse. Nothing beats a good laugh when things inevitably get chaotic. A new Le Creuset pot would be a great addition to the kitchen!

  194. I have put by for years, always have had a vegetable and fruit garden. I also love Le Crueset, have them in many colors. I have not used them for canning, however. I will try that next time I make a small batch. thank you for the great pots

  195. I have put by for years, always have had a vegetable and fruit garden. I also love Le Crueset, have them in many colors. I have not used them for canning, however. I will try that next time I make a small batch. thank you for the great posts

  196. I’m pretty new to canning and preserving so no great tips yet but I sure do appreciate your site and all the great recipes. I’m pinning your favorite straweberry jam recipe now! Thanks too for the giveaway! LeCreuset pots are the best and I’d sure love to win this one :-)

  197. I love canning and just started using my Le Creuset pot for making jam last year. It works great!

    Thanks for the tip about the macerating fruit keeping for an extra day. I think that’s wise advice. I find that sometimes my best jam has come from fruit that I’ve left a little longer than I initially planned – where the fruit is just bordering on over-ripe.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips.

  198. I have put by for years, always have had a vegetable and fruit garden. I also love Le Crueset, have them in many colors. I have not used them for canning, however. I will try that next time I make a small batch. thank you for the great posts – oh and I love to can with the Bee Gees on, Saturday Night Fever is a great one for canning to.

  199. Have been waiting and watching for the right time to start canning! Love all the tips and words of wisdom.

  200. I dearly loved cooking and canning in my le Creuset. My house burned down two days after Christmas and we are not yet moved back in. I miss my pot every time I go to make dinner. I would adore a new kettle, and yes, I would still choose orange again. It is still my favorite of the colors.

  201. We have ramped up our preserving, and yesterday made a new recipe called Treasure Island Jam-bananas, pineapple, coconut rum and vanilla. It turned out AWESOME! Would love to win that pot!!

  202. What a great list!
    My additions; always prep an extra jar, fill the electric tea kettle for additional boiling water (or tea), invite a friend whenever possible to make the prep work go faster and always, always send your helper home with a few jars!

  203. My only recommendation: never cook angry. It doesn’t fare well. Thank you for the giveaway and have a wonderful day!

  204. Lovely pot! I’m using pots that are too thin bottomed, but the plain cast iron dutch oven didn’t seem right. Hmmm, even if I don’t win I need to get my hands on one of those! Great post!

  205. New to canning and enjoying reading your recipes and advise. My sister and I canned venison last fall and this fall I hope to add more to our canning list. Jams are a sure bet!

  206. I’ve been canning for about 4 years now. I learned from a member of my coop in Philadelphia. Over the years, I have learned to trust myself and the process. Don’t press perfection. My jam will set and it will taste good and people will rave. We are truly our own worst critics.

  207. Was that your recipe in the Times? That’s terrific! I got to the grocery store and found the last of the local strawberries, and then happened to trip over organic rhubarb too, so I just grabbed them. I didn’t have a vanilla bean at home, but I had just cleaned out my pantry to find random bags of leftover candied ginger, so I used that instead. Thank you for the inspiration!

  208. thanks for understanding that canning is more of a carefully directed dance than a cold scientific process. it sounds much more romantic that way!

  209. I look at my jars of canned goodies as loving cups for my garden, which has done such a good job for me all summer, and remember what a wonderful time I had helping the plants produce such goodies.

  210. that is one lovely pot! I hope you’ll pick me. :) I’d put it to good use. one thing I’m doing this year is giving away more and right after I can things. sending those jars out into the world to be loved — no hoarding!

  211. These tips are so great, thanks so much. I just started making jams and canning last year so I appreciate advice like this. In about a month I’ll go strawberry picking and then I’m planning to make lots of jam to give to guests at my wedding later this summer. I’d love a lovely new pot to make it in!
    And I love listening to NPR when I’m canning :)

  212. I just started canning and appreciate the advice. You’re so right about focusing. I tried to multitask my first time around and it isn’t a good idea. I have the burn to prove it!

  213. I just started this season’s canning yesterday – went and picked 16lbs of strawberries and got two batches of jam so far, prepped 2lbs for sorbet, have some macerating for shortcake, and still have about 1/3 of the berries left!

  214. Canning is one of the best ways to preserve the bounty of summer and fall produce. The brilliant colors and fantastic flavors survive the cold of winter and provide inspiration for wonderful, healthy dishes the year round. If you can with family and friends you can share the expense of tools and inspire each other. Canning is Good!

  215. I almost always prep the fruit at least a day in advance of making the jam. Things just go much more smoothly, and it breaks up a seemingly endless task. In the case of marmalade, it’s necessary to soak the citrus to extract the pectin anyway. In most cases, w/ the possible exception of citrus, most fruits will freeze well if i. Think I won’t get to processing them in time. They can be thawed and processed later.

  216. My sister in law and I are trying to start a little jam business, it’s really hard but it’s so fun to share what we make with people. Thank you so much for a great post! Canning truly lives in the hands. When I’m in the groove it is so fun!

  217. woowee, creuset! Made my first rhubarb ginger jam a few weeks ago and it was absolutely dee-licious. I had never tried that taste combo before (worried it would be too strong), but glad I did. Thanks for the giveaway!

  218. Great article! My canning tip is to put on great music. Canning can be super hot, and last for hours. Music will let you boogie your way through the back pains of endless chopping and standing over the stove.

  219. I love your blog, and this post in particular! I alway prep an extra jar or two, just in case. Although last season I found that my yields tended to be lower than what the recipe said. A 7quart Le Creuset would be wonderful! I love my 5.5 quart, but sometimes it’s just a tad too small!

  220. I have started canning and making jam recently, and what I love the most is adding spices like cinnamon, cardamon, and star anise to my jams. The unusual flavors really make the jam unique!

  221. Great tips! I’m going to be canning strawberry vanilla jam and apricot jam today (I let the fruit macerate over night). These will be my first batches of jam and I’m excited and a bit nervous. I started canning last June but haven’t forayed into jams until now.

  222. Thank you for the inspirational tips! I freeze and dry a lot of food throught the year but was always scared to can. This is the year I finally take the plunge (pun intended)! I appreciate your personal tips and the opportunity to win a Le Crueset! Off to pick my canning music!

  223. Love Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen website! I have been canning on and off for many years. Now reside in S Florida and am learning how to can tropical fruits growing in the yard. Different from the bounty from previous vegetable gardens i Kentucky and Kansas! Here we grow tamarind, jaboticaba (Brazilian Grape on a tree), canistel, jack fruit, star fruit, Harvey Lemons, Persian limes, ginger, cardamom, pepper corns. Hibiscus grows everywhere and I just learned there is a canned Hibiscus Flower n syrup I am anxious to try. I love the Le Creuset cookware but not the piece in your generous giveaway.

  224. I love to can as much summer and fall produce as possible, print out pretty labels, and then give them as gifts for Christmas. There is always plenty left over for me, I don’t have to stress out about what to get my friends and (very large) family, and now everyone looks forward to it!

  225. Really enjoying all the extra tips and the original ones in this article are excellent. I’d love to hear if anyone has a tried and true habanero jelly recipe. My searches and subsequent attempts have revealed some real downers – mostly too sweet with not enough heat. Thanks in advance!

  226. Just found your website today, and I already love it! I had my first canning experience yesterday and made strawberry jam! I would LOVE a big Le Creuset pot to use for canning!

  227. Amazing! My favorite thing to can is Tomato Jam. Absolutely love to can alone. With 4 littles one, it’s soo relaxing! Love books on tape and canning with my headphones on!!

  228. I am just learning to put food up by canning! Would love to win this pot!! Thank you for providing the lessons and the opportunity!!

  229. I am happy to learn that I am not the only one who things of a canning session as a dance! I have two commandments so far in my canning. The first is if you are trying a recipe for the first time, you must strictly adhere to it! All measurements and such as written! After the first time you can see how it turns out, you can add or remove what ever you like. I am not a fan of too much sugar and love using good ripe fruit, and I want my customers and friends to taste the fruit, not fruit flavored sugar, so I play with the quantity after I am used to the recipe. Too little and the jam won’t set…so it’s a delicate dance!
    My other commandment is in regards to jams. Small batch is best! You must stick to that thought! Once recipe at a time and you’ll never do wrong. I typically do my canning on weekends, in the church kitchen and focus on one or two recipes per session. With jam to make a bunch at once I simply employ more pots! This is where working in the church kitchen comes in handy because I can use their pots, and don’t have to procure my own. One batch at a time also helps when I have helpers because while I am stirring and finishing a batch, I have a helper with a new pot prepped and ready for the stove!

  230. Love your site as a resource! My indispensable commandment: read through the directions. Twice. Before lifting a finger. When time is a consideration, it sucks to lose 45 minutes on properly washing and prepping because you forgot to read you need to do it.

  231. I just found your site and it’s really great. Lots of good tips and ideas. Glad to have found you. I have always wanted a Le Creuset oven. Thanks for the opportunity.

  232. Used your strawberry preserve recipe for some berries I picked myself, and eating it is pure heaven! Would love to take one of your classes; just need to be more organized and sign up before they fill up. Thanks for all the wonderful and inspirational tips.

  233. I’ve not really done canning before, I’m hoping to begin the adventure this year. It’s posts like this that feed my desire to do so. Also, this is a fabulous giveaway.

  234. Wow, I just heard about your site (& the contest) from Food in Jars. I’ll be back often. Thanks so much!

  235. If canning is a scarry proposition ; ask a knowledgable friend to join you. It will be twice the fun ! My favorite is Blackberry Jam as it reminds me of my dad. He grew enough blackberries to feed the entire town! I do have a question . What size Le Creuset pot is large enough to be safe for most jam recipes? I have the 5 quart one but have been afraid that it might be too small??

  236. I love the commandments. They are written in a way anybody can understand. I love to go to the Farmers Market or actually go picking fruit in the early morning hours. This way I can still have a full day to can.

    I love the idea of music/dancing when canning! I love to listen to lively Latin Jazz when canning or doing any other cooking!

    Thank you for the giveaway, whoever wins the wonderful pot will have a treasure always!

  237. I’m hopping to start canning this year. Slowly gathering equipment and recipes. Water bath canning to start. Can’t afford a pressure canner just yet.

  238. I’m another newbie to canning & preserving…I can’t wait to get started!!! This pot is amazing & I hope I win, but if I don’t – congrats to the person who will be using this beauty! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  239. JUst started to make jam this year Started making pickles first and have been trying to expand my canning world. I really like your site.

  240. Not sure it’s a commandment, but a piece of friendly wisdom, perhaps. Things go wrong. You will occasionally leave that tomato jam in the slow cooker until it’s burnt to a crisp, or your marmalade will turn out bitter or your brilliant idea to pickle eggplant doesn’t go so well as you’d hoped. This doesn’t make you a canning failure. Try again, learn along the way.

  241. Wow. I’ve been itching to can for weeks now, and this post just made me want to even more. I check my rhubarb every day to see if maybe it’s ready yet (it’s not). Wish the New England harvest would hurry up and tart!

  242. Just found your site through Food in Jars and LOVE what I see. Will be back often. My humble advice is to use the very best ingredients at peak of ripeness. Thanks!

  243. A great list of helpful tips! Thanks for doing that..I think you & I have a similar way of doing things. I usually listen to a book while canning & I rarely have anyone in the kitchen with me, I find it easier to concentrate that way. I spend most of my summer growing all kinds of veggies & fruits, then canning or freezing them. I have a long list of family & friends who count on me sharing with them. A group I belong to has an annual white elephant silent auction & ever since I started bringing baskets or re-usable shopping bags filled with my canned items, they have become the hot item to bid for! My best tip I can share is that once I get my jars clean & ready I put them in a warm oven. It frees up room on the stove & I don’t have to keep running the dishwasher. First time on your page, love it! I will be checking back often!

  244. Oooohhhh…I’d love me some Le Creuset!!! My canning tip is to try exotic combos or different flavors – EVERYBODY has strawberry jam, try something new!

  245. This will be my first year to can, so these tips will really help. I’m probably most looking forward to first growing tomatillos, then making salsa verde with them and canning it up.

  246. We just opened the habenaro jam I won from the last contest. It was amazing. Maybe lightening will strike twice and I will win again.

  247. Thanks so much for all your inspiration and advice!! I am new at canning and am enjoying the learning process! I have not tried pressure canning yet, but am working up to that goal. I recently made some yummy chicken soup and would have loved to have known how to can it for future use! Thanks again for all your help!!

  248. I love this website:) My favourites for jamming include hitting up the local farmer’s market every summer. The berries and cherries of the area demand to be preserved. I try to do mostly small batch, unless it’s my Berry Berry Gin-Jam. No matter how much I make, it just doesn’t last long enough.

  249. This is a great guide for a beginning canner like myself. Thanks so much for sharing your routine and guide to success!

  250. My canning essential is to work side by side with my Mom and Sister! There was never a happier kitchen in all the land!

  251. I’m still a newbie, but I’m learning and I love the advice in this post! Looking forward to making strawberry jam this year….

  252. We have canned peaches every summer for years, but just in the last couple got into making jam. I’d still like to figure out why my freezer jam turned runny, but the cooked jam is fine. One of our must-have tools is a magnet on a stick for pulling lids and rings out of the hot water. Would love to have a Le Creuset!

  253. It’s so nice to read advice like this at the beginning of preserving season – I love the idea of a canning “uniform” and also listening to books on tape. NPR is usually my go-to, but can get a little old when you’re listening to a story for the third time in a day!

  254. I like to listen to comedy podcasts while canning. Keeps me smiling and giggling the whole way through. A new pot would also make me smile!

  255. I love canning and making strawberry jam. It’s so easy and rewarding. My tip is to NOT use pectin. You can always use fresh granny smith peels and a sliver of apple to thicken. Also if you make your jamming into a two day thing you don’t need pectin! Naturally I kick off my jam sessions with bob marley “jamming” always comes around at least three times :) happy canning!!!

  256. I have a simple lamenated check list to help me slow down and double check that added my spices, released the air bubbles, wiped the rims, etc.. It is helpful when you have mass amouns of fruits or veggies to can and you get a but rushed, no chance of forgetting a step this way.

  257. Great tips! I made your rhubarb chutney in mass quantities last weekend. This weekend – strawberries!! And boy, would they love a new pot to simmer in.

  258. What a fun article on canning. Do you ever try strawberry jam with soda water on ice for homemade soda?

  259. Great advice! I’ll be sure to print up a copy and tape it to the fridge for reference.

    I never considered myself a fan of strawberry-rhubarb anything, but now I’m willing to give it a try.

  260. Just starting canning this year, and the only wisdom I could offer is to embrace the extraordinariness of doing something ordinary. I love the fact that I’m learning a skill that others took for granted a hundred years ago.

    1. Congratulations! YOU’VE WON! I sent an email – please get back to me with a mailing address. Happy canning – Cathy

  261. Experiment. Try different spices or combinations of fruits. Go organic as much as possible and local as you are able. And don’t despair at failures…can it be used in a marinade or as a syrup instead?

  262. I just finished a fridge and freezer clean-out session that produced kumquat and strawberry-lemon-thyme marmalades and blackberry and elderberry curds, and now get to sit down and read your terrific article welcoming the preserving season! Thank you! I’ve been guilty of being in a hurry or disorganized and agree that the whole procedure is an art; setting the stage with my tools, work clothes and soundtrack make it a much more enjoyable and productive experience!

  263. Great Article!
    I’m so stoked to continue learning this canning stuff!
    The pot would be awesomeness on my stove!

  264. Le Creuset is my dream canning pot! I use my husband’s All Clad and it works great, but I really like all the colors from Le Creuset. I am still new to canning, my jams are pretty successful but I have yet to get a jelly that I’m happy with. They’re either runny, or they are close to gummy in texture.

  265. This post has me all in the mood for canning season! I love canning, I just have to figure out what we’ll actually eat. We make a big batch of salsa most years, and this year when we moved we discovered a huge stash of salsa we didn’t realize we had! This year, I vow to preserve more carefully, and not make more of what we already have.

  266. I just started canning (since Jan) and I can’t stop. I even take vacation days so I can can more. I have a small kitchen and a small stove, but even with limited space if you plan well you can make all sorts of goodies. Love the time I spend making these tasty treats and the company I have while I do it – a corgi puppy in one corner watching and waiting for tidbits to fall on the floor and an older corgi just outside the kitchen area where she can watch and not get stepped on – and my husband in another room always ready to taste test.

  267. I’m a canning beginner. Although, I have made strawberry jam to give as a bridal shower favor. Taking a canning class in July with Marisa McClellan – so excited, her new cookbook – Food in Jars is included in the cost of the class. Love your tips – 7-10 are my favorites. Especially your thoughts on presentation. My sister-in-law is an avid canner – I will spread the word about your terrific website and post.

  268. My mother-in-law was French Canadian and taught me how to can. It was a way of life for her. She passed away in February close to her 80th birthday. I think of her every time I can! She will be missed.

  269. Wow what a nice giveaway! I would love to have a Le creuset… I can only small batches every year since we’re only two but I would appreciate new tools!

  270. What a wonderful roundup of canning tips! I am getting a flat of blackberries this weekend, and I’m excited for my first ‘summer’ canning of the year! I’ll have to dig through my old clothes and find a good canning uniform!

  271. We love jams!!! We love them so much we prepared Jam/Jellies as wedding favors at our daughters wedding…..yes 250 of them! I can assure you that no favor was left behind. :) It would have been even more fun with a Le Creuset oven!

  272. Fantastic giveaway! And I loved your tips :), it’s nice to read about other peoples “rituals” for canning.

  273. I’d love to win a Le Creuset Round Oven! And that green is such a pretty, spring colour, I’d never want to put it away! : )

  274. My mother is 96 and can no longer eat solid food. It is too hard for her to chew. This would be wonderful for cooking fruits and vegetables which I could then puree.

  275. Just thinking about canning season getting underway makes my stomach all queasy.I am 62yrs old & back in the late 60′s as a newlywed tried canning corn which was easily identifiable as spoiled(thank goodness i didnt kill anyone).Last yr trying to pickle dill cukes was my next attempt.I had procrastinated for so long that wn they finally did get canned they were a disaster…good flavor just Very mushy & inedible.Now here we are in 2012.i found an old fashioned recipe online for no pectin Strawberry Jam. First off i cooked it in my cast iron,the berries turned very dark & would not thicken…& believe me,i cooked & cooked those suckers but they would Not firm up.We will have some nice ice cream syrup though.There is conflicted joy in knowing my blackberry bushes are Loaded with beautiful berries soon to be ripe.

    1. Don’t let previous attempts keep you from success. Did you add lemon juice to the strawberries? I did three separate batches of small batch jam last weekend before I left on vacation. Just fruit, sugar and lemon juice. The set is softer than jam with pectin, but even tastier (not overloaded with sugar). A good thermometer is key, since the jam needs to cook to 220 F (sea level – check online for your altitude). If the jam doesn’t set, it wasn’t a mistake… you meant to make sauce! :) And pickles, well… a lot of the processing instructions now don’t lead to a crisp pickle.

  276. Starting canning last year and figured out many of your top tips through experience. Thanks for the great reminders before I start this season!

  277. A fun a different way to put up strawberries, soon in season here in Oregon, is “Strawberry BBQ Sauce”. It’s great with pork chops or chicken. Thanks for the giveaway. =)

  278. Love this post! I have not had the chance to can for years but my buddy just moved around the corner and we agree that this is the year to make it happen! I adore Le Creuset and it would be happily and loving used!

  279. My canning ‘advice’ has more to do with the fruits/vegetables that you are growing in your garden that you plan on canning. My first year that I had a garden as an adult, I was so excited and planted way to much of a lot of different things. My advice, if you’re new, is to only do a couple different items. I had so many things ripe at the same time, I couldn’t keep up. By the time I canned anything, they were way too overripe. Pickling cucumbers were the size of huge squash!

  280. I’m so excited to can this year I ;) I’m not usually the type of person who cans. but I’m going to try it this year and hope it works out ;)

  281. I just started making jam this year and I now have at least half of a queen size bed worth! Yep, the jam stash is under the bed :) I’m in Florida, so our fruit season is coming to an end for now, but oh how I enjoyed all the jamming! Love your page!

  282. le creuset *swoon*
    i love the rituals of preserving. cleaning & setting up the kitchen. the familiar chop chop chop, bubble bubble bubble, *ring* of the timer, ping ping ping soundtrack of a canning session.
    things got so much more enjoyable & manageable when i embraced small batch preserving. a huge sigh came with stepping away from the all or nothing mentality.

  283. I made my first batch of strawberry jam last year and spent the long, rainy winter pouring over canning & jam making books from the library. In short I’m ready to get going! Thanks for the tips and the great website.

  284. I have my canning set up outside my kitchen on a screened porch, but I’m very lucky to have that space. I have a burner, propane tank, counter space, and am not too far from water in the kitchen. Keeps it cool in summer.

  285. Loved the class yesterday. I’m looking forward to trying some recipes–and tweaking them some–over the summer!

  286. This is is my second year canning and I’ve already made my list and organized my supplies. My rhubarb is out of control right now and so the next canning project will be rhubarb syrup (already made jam two weeks ago). Thanks for all the great tips!

  287. Love the “get set up” advice! I hate to run out of jars, but I do not have enough room on the stove for a steriziling pot, a water bath pot AND my jam pot. So I start my canning session by sterilizing my jars in hot water and then TRANSFERING them to tea towel (cotton!) lined baking sheets in a 250 degree oven. They stay cozy warm (and dry) until I need them.

  288. I just started canning last Fall and love it! Thanks for the handy tips. I’ll definitely be returning here for more info.

  289. Print out the recipe! Leave the laptop out of the kitchen when canning! I make such a mess, I can’t risk getting anything on my computer.

  290. Would love a new pot for canning, soup, pasta, lobster, etc. I am looking forward to canning new jellies, jams and chutneys!

  291. I’ve always coveted a Le Creuset! Last summer was my first experience with canning-and I did mainly fruit. My favorite was a pear sauce with vanilla bean that I found on smittenkitchen.com-it was so good, I’m hoarding my last jar. This year I’d like to try the savory route, pickles, fermented foods and try my hand at canning tomatoes.

  292. I’ve been canning about 40 years, and your suggestions are good. Some are things I never think about (like having a canning uniform), but are good reminders of what I know to do. Two suggestions: label those jars! No, really, label them! And my favorite: it’s supposed to be fun. We are not canning for our winter survival anymore (well, most of us), we can have fun while we are doing it.
    Well, ok, one more suggestion: teach someone else. A teenager, a friend, someone who always wanted to but never learned. And enter at your county fair!
    Ok, I’m done.

  293. One of your readers will be so fortunate to win! I use two Le Creuset stock pots when canning jams (both heat jars, then one becomes the *jacuzzi* for the water bath). They are the perfact size for the insert from my pressure cooker that keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot during the bath. My canning tips are nothing new to what you have already said. I love macerating the fruit a day or two beforehand to save time on actual jammin’ day, my hubbers is great about giving out jam to his favorite customers (and requiring a return jar for refills), and I love to experiment with flavors (most recent: Loquat Lemon Jelly made with Pink Lemonade Lemons and a touch of orange juice). If I were to add anything new for beginning jammers, I would say to learn how to make no added pectin jam. There’s nothing better for canning confidence! Thanks for the vinegar in the water bath tip! It will be so much nicer than wiping the jars down with vinegar on a towel. (Thunking myself on the forehead) Why didn’t I think of that?!?!

  294. Can what you love! If you’re not sure, make a very small batch – that way you’re not stuck with jars of things you’ve not used.

  295. Love LeCreuset! I use it for canning and candy-making. Cathy, I don’t know if you’ve seen Cristine Ferber’s recipe for plum-lemon-honey preserves, but that was my favorite thing I made last year.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  296. I just tipped my toes into the canning pot last year, but this year we’re diving in! I have grandiose plans that I pray won’t go awry. :) Thank you for your list, and I’ll be checking back, I’m sure, to peek at all your other wonderful advice and canning goodies.

  297. I can’t have processed sugar because of my thyroid. And honey needs to remain raw. My question is can you make a good canable jam that is cooked at low enough temp to remain essentially raw?

  298. I love to can. I especially like making jellies & chutneys. I am always looking for new ideas. Everyone saves their jars for me so that I will give them some of what I make that season.

  299. i keep looking up canning recipes and not trying them, too scared, too worried, to overwhlemed…these tips are great, and it would be even better to win and be able to try out canning in le creuset

  300. Love Love Love your blog!!!! Made the ketchup last summer and love it, got the bug for canning after being given a whole bag of gorgeous purple plums from someone’s tree, still enjoying that!! Had to throw the old le crueset pan away after 30 years as the enamel wore out on the bottom, sadly can’t afford a new one so will soon get an enamel pan to use for this summers bounty.

  301. Thanks for the great tips! I’m a new canner and the enamel pot would be a great addition to my canning equipment. fingers crossed x

  302. The surprise hit of 2011 canning season was “Green Magma”, my first attempt at salsa verde. Really, really simple (tomatillos, onion, jalapenos and the usual pickle-y lemon, vinegar, salt, and a tad of sugar). Volcanic, yes, but wonderful flavor that still comes through. Some recipients reported eating it straight out of the jar.

  303. My biggest canning success was pressure canninng enough salsa to get us through an entire winter. Done up in pints, I was able to stack 2-high, and be done quickly (which was important, as I was using a camp stove!

  304. Must admit this is my first time to your website, but I have been canning for years. Just finished making a batch of rhubarb beer jam (first time). I also like to can alone, it is a peaceful, reflective time for me creating food for my family and friends.

  305. I’ve been following your blog, reading the canning books and waiting for the CS to open. I can’t wait to start canning — the easy stuff first, of course, but your photos and recipes give me hope for a long canning future!

  306. Agree with all your tips about mise en place…totally agree. And don’t rush! thanks for your great thoughts…and happy canning!

  307. These tips are awesome. Even though I’ve been canning and preserving for awhile, sometimes it’s easy to forget the basics. And I have to admit that I’ve never used Le Creuset (it’s a little out of my price range) but I woul LOVE to try it!

  308. Began canning for the first time last season and am eager to see what I can do now that I’m more confident in my skills! I think storing all your equipment in one place so you can quickly and easily get to work is the trick to keeping it fun!

  309. My biggest commandment? If a jam doesn’t set, then don’t panic. Can it anyway, and label it “sauce” or “syrup”. Will be just as delicious on pancakes, waffles, ice cream and more!

  310. I liked them on FB. I am a huge Le Creuset fan but I don’t have a 7 QT! I’d love to add one to my collection

  311. I’m loving all the comments but please allow me to cancel the follow up comments by email. I’ve tried twice. Thank you.

  312. I love your blog and your cooking classes. I wish I lived closer to DC because I would love to assist in one of your classes too! I am just a huge fan and I appreciate your approach to cooking and canning.

  313. Great tips, thank you! I’ve been pickling like mad but now that the Spring fruit is here, it’s time to shift to canning for a spell. Thank you for this wonderful resource!

  314. I *always* schedule an entire day if I want to can anything. Thanks for the great tips and chance to win!!!

  315. I love to look at all the jars lined up, but it’s even more fun to share what you’ve made! What a great give away…thanks for the opportunity!

  316. Oh my birthday is the 28th and all I asked for was some free time to start canning and preserving the great spring goods I have been collecting at our local farmers market.

  317. I started canning to make my grandmother’s sweet chili sauce, and now I cannot stop. I love your voice and your advice. Food In Jars sent me in your direction!

  318. I’ve canned for years, and so enjoy reading about canning on your blog! Your descriptions of flavors, colors, new preserving tricks make my day!

  319. Do you have a good how-to site for canning? I really want to take the next step with all the goodies I have been growing, but I just don’t know how to get started…….

  320. A brand new baby means no strawberry related canning for me this year. Hopefully I’ll be ready by the time pickling cukes come around. I’d love to have an enameled pot… it’s never been in the cards for me.

  321. What a wonderful site you have created! I have canned for 50 years and used the same Le Creuset pots for making jams and jellies. It is time for a new set! Thank you for the opportunity to win a new set of these long lasting and well made fantastic pots!

  322. I have never done hot water bath canning, just pressure canning, but I want to plant a grape vine just for the leaves for making pickles since I read that they keep the pickles crisp…however I love pretty dutch ovens that can take the abuse of living with boyscouts

  323. Last summer was my “aha!” moment of canning, and I can’t wait to can away this summer! Im recipe testing a ton these next few weeks, and waiting on all of my plants to be ready for me!
    Great post!

  324. I have been canning for over 50 years. I so enjoy reading and trying the new recipes being posted online. That has challenged me to get more creative I
    n my efforts

  325. Oh, how I love canning and Le Creuset and blogs! The perfect trio is right here! I love playing tunes as I work alone in the kitchen. My precious down time…

  326. I always have the best intentions to get all kinds of good things canned, but they I don’t actually do it! How do I get motivated? There’s a question for you. :/ Thanks for the awesome giveaway – maybe that would motivate me…

  327. I will happily be sharing your tips to a friend of mine who is about to embark on her first canning adventure. I’m delighted to say that my dilly beans and raspberry-rhubarb jam have inspired her enough to learn to preserve. She lives far away so unfortunately I can’t help her directly.i gave her some tips, told her which book to buy to get started, and which canning items were “must haves”. Maybe I have just converted one more. The item that got me canning for the first time: brandied cherries. Yum. Thanks for the great post, and I would absolutely love to have a canning pot as beautiful as that!

  328. Have lots and lots of clean towels and potholders at the ready. I can’t wait til more fruits and veg show up at my local farmers market. I am ready to steam up the kitchen. :)

  329. I would love to win a Le Creuset 7-Qt Dutch Oven, which is beyond my financial abilities for sure, but I might use it for other things than my canning at times. Just finished making Chili Sauce and that pot would have been perfect.

  330. Thanks for the article and good tips. I am trying to work up the courage to at least try….going to see if some of my Mom’s canning equipment is still down in my dad’s basement, dust it off and add what I need and hopefully at least try…

  331. I just found this via Punk Domestics and love all the tips. I’ve been doing jam and marmalade the last few summers and ready to try something new this year.

    As a newbie, my only tip is ….baseball on the radio….it’s the perfect summer background while standing and stirring. Summer means Giants and jam

  332. I am taking a canning class in a few weeks and was happy to stumble upon your blog! I have wonderful memories of being sent to the basement to get a jar of pickles or beets or peaches that my grandma had canned while dining at her house. I hope to continue the tradition soon! My father in law often gives us homemade jam and marmalade so my kids need to learn how. We have a great farmer’s market near by (I live on a shaded lot and can only grow basically herbs and lettuces and leafy greens) so I can get some yummy produce to can. Thanks for your list!

  333. Wow! Great review of essential steps! When I started canning 20 yrs ago in Ca the fresh fruit was so plentiful I ended up specializing in making fruit butters and nothing worked as well as my old enameled dutch oven to cook that beautiful fruit down to the delicious butters everyone expected for the holidays. I’ve retired my old enameled pan to making beans & would love a new le cruiset for a new season of canning.

  334. Last year was my first year canning. Made Marinara Sauce and Salsa to begin with, and made a small batch strawberry rhubarb jam. Definetely will be marking this as a resource for information.

  335. I have put food by for many years, have always had a fruit and vegetable garden. I love Le Crueset, have them in all colors but have not used them for canning. I will have to try that with a small batch. I love to listen to the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever is a favorite. Gets you goin.

  336. Nice piece, thanks for the pep-talk. Recognition due to the Land-Grant University Extension services wherever you are for teaching and researching around this whole Preservation universe. Just finishing up the OSU Extension/Family Food Educators Master Food Preserver course here in NW Oregon. 10 weeks, way too little money for the value and way too much fun to be hard work. Can’t wait for Berry season………………

  337. Love your list, especially the part about doing a few batches to get in gear for the intensive canning season. This will be my third year. I started with jams and pickles the first year, and last year added plum sauce, applesauce. pears in very light syrup and tomatoes. I love knowing exactly what’s in each jar. Thanks for your blog — I enjoy it.

  338. It’s interesting to hear of other people’s canning routines. They don’t often come up amid the talk of recipes and ingredients. Most of my commandments are the same as yours. I try to encourage folks who want to can but are intimidated by telling them how it’s not prohibitively difficult. However, I always mention the time investment.

    I am glad to see your articles in the Times. Good for you.

  339. I do love canning, it’s my favorite time of year! Crossing my fingers for that Le Creuset! I have a knock off, it’s served me well but it’d be awesome to have the real thing.

  340. I am new to your website but am excited to learn more! I haven’t done any canning before but who knows!?

  341. One tip made this worth reading for me! We have terribly hard water and even with filtering I get deposits on my jars. Burns me up! I’ll try the vinegar trick. If it works I’ll be a “happy canner”.

  342. I just need to learn to make more time to can. I love doing it but it seems like the summer days and fruits fly by and then are gone. At least this year I have gotten two small batches done so far. Here is to a productive season.

  343. I am new to canning and have set my self a goal to can 15 different recipes this year. I only am going for items in season at the farmers market… however my #1 rule for all domestic activities is to keep it FUN! Feeding my family is a blessing.

  344. My husband & I just started canning last year. It is a great way to have some together time. It has also got us to start our garden back up. WIN WIN!

  345. I love putting things up during the summer months. When the weather turns cold, the jars are like captured summer.
    I like to put up tomatoes, peaches and make all kinds of pickles. Sharing is the best part!

  346. This is an excellent post full of solid, time-tested advice. I always talk to people about mise en place and protecting oneself from burns so I can definitely relate. Good ingredients in = good food out. Yes, I can relate to all of it! I have been wanting to start canning for a long time now and I keep putting off really learning for one reason or another. Definitely need to make this summer the summer I learn.

  347. Our favorite way to use jam is to stir a spoonful into plain Greek yogurt. You will never buy flavored yogurt again :-)

  348. I love to can cherries and apricots. I think you made certain I don’t slack this year like I did last. I really miss it and the rewards of my labor!

  349. Great post to start the canning season (not that the season really ever has an ending or beginiing). Love to have a new pot as I chip the enamel on my exsisting one.

  350. Thanks for the push for the 2012 canning season! I am about to get started on my first batch of rhubarb fig jam, a favorite from last year canning. Love your site, thanks for all your inspiration…

  351. I have started to gather supplies for canning and am very excited to start. Your first commandment really spoke to me. So it’s not jam, it’s liquor or vinegar. Relax – if life gives you lemons, make lemonade … it’ll turn out okay. Thank you!

  352. A friend sent me the link to your site because all I have been talking about of late is learning how to can. We are signed up to take a class in a couple of weeks and I am so excited. Thanks for all the great tips! Now I hopefully won’t look like such a novice at the class. I look forward to trying out some of your recipes!

  353. I am ready!! Except for my pot is about “done”. I need a new one desperately to fill all of the jars I just finished cleaning and organizing!

  354. Canning time is “Me” time. No one is to bother or pester while I’m canning. It’s kind of like art. Not a social activity. Not for me, anyway.

  355. I’ve always coveted Le Creuset (its US HQ is in Charleston SC… did you visit the signature store on your trip there??)

    I hope to can some peach preserves and try my hand at figs. If I had to pick a canning tip, I’d say: If you’re messy like me, keep a bunch of towels on hand. As in a LOT. And don’t obsess over sterility of the equipment – that will take all the joy out of it.

  356. I LOVE the whole process of canning.I always make plenty so that I can share and it feels wonderful when other people rave about something I’ve given them. I do need a new pot and this one would be fabulous. I subscribe to your blog but I am not on facebook or any of the other social media sites. I always look forward to your posts and often shoot them off to friends, some of whom don’t even cook but they always comment on your writing. Thank you!

  357. Oh my heavens, I’ve always wanted a Le Creuset. I’m a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver — volunteering to teach low-resource communities how to preserve good food. My 60th birthday’s coming up and retired now, I’ll have lots of time to put Le Creuset to good use, personally and in the community!!

  358. Thanks for the chance to win and for all of your canning advice. We try to learn how to preserve new things each season. We love doing something our parents never knew how to do.

  359. I just found this site via foodinjars, and there goes my afternoon! And who could say no to a Le Creuset.

  360. I am crossing my fingers to find time to pickle asparagus this year, but if it doesn’t happen strawberry jam is just around the corner!

  361. I used to get so stressed canning when I was younger. I was always in a hurry. A good friend of mine taught me to turn it into creative “me” time. I turn on my favorite tunes, pour myself a festive beverage, and make the work a celebration. It helps that my family is grown and I don’t have to put up so much;)

  362. I cannot wait for all the good stuff to come out of my garden and from our CSA shares to start “putting it up”. All that wonderful freshness at my fingertips!!!!

  363. I’m still a canning newbie, but just shared a jar of your awesome dilly beans with my preschool parent association tonight to rave reviews. Can’t wait to learn more!

  364. I love your sassy tips! Especially: focus! Enjoy the process of turning wonderful fresh food into your own fabulous creations. Thanks for sharing your passion.

  365. Thanks to Food in Jars for directing me here! I’m a fairly new canner so I can use any advice and information I can get. We joined a CSA this year so I’m excited to see the bounty we receive and I’m hoping I can preserve some of it! Great site, thank you.

  366. I love your website. I’ve become fascinated with canning in the past 2 years. We grow tomatoes, so I’m becoming proficient at canning tomato sauce. Fruit is still new to me and I’m planning to try some of your recipes. I also love Le Creuset. I have only one pot, but love it!

  367. I am super new to canning but quickly learning from your website. I’m growing my own full garden this year and I’m definitely ready to preserve things to use all year!

  368. Loving the recipe you posted Strawberry Rhubarb Confiture. I am a huge canning fan. Grew up doing it with my mom and grandma (fond memories). Today I share the same memories with my kids. Our favorite is pear butter and strawberry jam!

  369. I’m fairly new to canning, having done some tomatoes in the past but did tackle some grape jam last year. I didn’t feel like it set up as well as it should have and want to try again this year. I love canning and the feeling of accomplishment when you look at your beautiful jars!

  370. I think a glass of wine while canning is imperative :)

    Love your website, keep the great posts coming!

    Kaity

  371. I canned last year for the first time. I love it! I am always looking for new recipes to add to my old ones. I have just found your site and love it! Would love to win!

  372. During the last depression…. the flat lid was reused they were hard to come by. I believe I was told they were boiled in white vinegar to soften rubber for reuse. Somewhere I had the articles on this. —– Will your info be up for pinning soon.??

  373. love your website..i am so new to canning but i am so interested in learning as much as i can…hope to get my supplies together so i can start to learn..thank you for sharing!

  374. I am very new to preserving—just canned my first strawberries two weeks ago!—and would love to win this giveaway. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your website, Mrs. Wheelbarrow!

  375. I love your successful formulas for preparation, and artistry of creation involved in every new batch. I am learning to gather and harvest and preserve wild foods that are now part of my diet, this is all in a complete circle with canning and preservation. Found you through FB, and very happy to be inspired daily by posts. Thank you!

  376. These commandments are great! I’m looking forward to my second canning season this year and I’m bookmarking this post to retread as I get into canning mode to refresh and fine tune my set up and process. Thanks!

  377. WOW!! I am so excited to find you on Facebook…I can’t wait to get your new Book! W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L information and encouragement!! Thank YOU!!

  378. This is such a great idea to add herbs to jams and such. I’m always weary to change a good traditional flavor. Maybe I’ll just make smaller batches and try a few rather than a large batch of plain strawberry jam. Looking forward to reading more of your blog now that I have discovered it. Thanks

  379. My canning commandment: always prep an extra jar or two. And keep a diary of your canning adventures – so you can remember if you prefer one dried pepper or two in your pickles, which recipe consistently over/under yields, how to get the spice level just right in your salsa and you can compare your output to your consumption.

  380. Love my lime green LC. I have a Dutch oven and a saucepan. It brightens up my kitchen. Can’t wait to do some canning when the strawberries come in.

  381. Just found out about your site today. Jumping on one foot to meet you. I have been telling my daughter about canning fruits and veggies and making preserves and was looking for some support to help me engage her. Thank goodness I found it! And what a bonus, getting a chance to win my favorite, LeCrueset! amazing way to start a new discovery!

  382. I’m just starting to look into going back to canning and preserving. I learned from my mom. I’ve made all kinds of excuses and now is the time to step up to the stove again.

  383. Thanks for the great tip on vinegar in the boiling water bath! I always end up with hard water residue on my jars. Hopefully this will do the trick! Also looking forward to trying the Pickeled Asparagus recipe!

  384. My tip is to wear SHOES. I burned my feet with boiling water once that spilled over the sink. I had to go to the Emergency room and it was so painful. Shoes in the Kitchen.

    1. OMGoodness what a great tip!! I NEVER wear shoes and would never dream of that happening…until it happens, then it’s to late! We teach Emergency Preparedness classes…uhmmm you’d think that would be at the top of my list…well it is now and always have a pair of, easily accessible, shoes by your bed…not in the kitchen, living room or bathroom :)

  385. Thanks for your ten commandments. My kitchen has no Le Creuset, so I would love a piece. Have already begun the canning season with 8 pounds of strawberries which turned into strawberry freezer jam (my husband’s favorite), some frozen berries, and fruit leather with the rest.

  386. I’ve always been a little afraid of canning (it seemed so involved), but maybe I will give it a try! Especially if I could attempt homemade pickles. This is the first time I’ve been to your blog, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Any tips for a new blogger? My mom is starting a food blog called morethanamealmemories.com and I’d love to share any tips with her. Thanks!

  387. It amazes me with each step forward I seem to take a step back in time, like my Grandmother and her Grandmother walking down the steep steps of the root cellar to choose which delightful jar of many she might share with us as we visited that summer. Grandma’s jars of delight, beautiful colors, textures rich in flavor and oh so good…that’s what I remember and looked forward to on our way to her dairy where she had raised 13 children during the depression. And now I find myself waiting for my organic garden to produce it’s first crop, building a root cellar and canning for the first time, just like Grandma and her Grandma. Thank you for the journey and the wonderful memories, taking me back and moving me forward in my journey with my family…”Gather your mis en place – all the ingredients for your recipe. Be organized.” Grandma would be proud.

  388. I’m new to canning and have always wanted to learn. I’m reading everything I can find and could certainly use a good pot to help me in my quest for ultimate canning! So much fruit, so little time.

  389. I learned how to can from my mother. Green beans, corn, tomatoes, meats, etc. It is a great skill that she taught me. I think of her every time I pull out the canner and start preping for the next batch.

  390. I love canning, and I have a small Le Creuset pot that I make small batches of salsa in during the summer. I would love to have a larger one for jams and other goodies.

  391. I still remember my first attempt at making strawberry preserves. There wasn’t enough natural pectin in the fruit & I didn’t add any. I ended up with chunky strawberry dipping sauce. Very good strawberry dipping sauce, I might add. So you poured it into a bowl instead of scooping it and spreading it ……. actually easier to use. And it made an incredible strawberry swirl lemon pound cake!

  392. I am completely jazzed about the jamming season!

    You’re like the preserving George Gipp! Can one for the wheelbarrow…

  393. This is very good advice for canning. It’s so easy to get distracted and miss a step, like wiping rims. I’d never thought of using my Le Creuset oval for canning but don’t know why. I use it for everything else ;-)! Looking forward to trying your strawberry recipe; my best one is too sweet…

  394. Love your blog and just finished an experiment based on your favorite strawberry jam recipe. I omitted the mint and added 1/3 cup Makers Mark bourbon! Color is amazing and there is a hint of smokey bourbon under the sweet strawberry.
    Would also like to know if you have ever used any of the recipes from Helen Twitty’s FANCY PANTRY?
    And yes I would love a new le creuset.

  395. I love the whole preserving season! It’s just the way I was raised on the farm.
    Hot kitchens, hot jars and lovely preserves, pickles and produce.
    Love your blog!

  396. My commandment would be a knock off…just do it. I didn’t can for years because I was terrified that it was some terribly complicated process that would kill all my loved ones if I messed up.

    It’s not. There are some rules/steps to follow, but it’s really easy, fun, and there’s little as rewarding as the sound of your lids pinging as they seal.

  397. I am introducing a friend to making and canning strawberry jam this year. It is so much fun that I am thinking of having canning parties.

  398. I started canning a couple of summers ago with your fig confiture recipe and this summer I am looking forward to trying a variety of pickle and gardenia recipes!

  399. Love the “Find a friend” commandment! I spent several days last fall helping a friend process all of the concord grapes from her yard. We had a ball searching for interesting recipes and ended up with a great selection of jams and conserves.

  400. Just moved into a new house with a bigger kitchen! I have used the new space to do all sorts of preserving- rhubarb chutney and syrup recently! Yummmmm!

  401. It is wonderful to see your love of canning show shine through this article. After I put my canning pot on to boil, I also boil a full electric kettle. Easy to reheat, should I need extra hot water later in the process.

  402. I just started making and canning jam last summer, and your post has given me the encouragement to keep going (as well as some great tips!). I also use my Le Creuset dutch oven to make jam; it’s my favorite pot, so I’d love to win another–they’re the best! Thanks for the wonderful post, I know I’ll reference it again and again.

  403. I’m sooo pumped for canning season! We’re watching our hoard of jarred magic dwindle, which is great for giving us lots of jars to refill, but sad for leaving us without any more of a fabulous quince conserve – bittersweet! Thanks for the “season opener”!

  404. Great stuff, we’ve been eating homemade jams all year and have been waiting for canning season to come around again! Yum!

  405. You got me hooked with your Fig compote from two years ago, and I love your website! I grew rhubarb this year just so i could can strawberry rhubarb pie filling. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  406. Just took a canning class and can’t wait to get busy once I have all the tools! Love your site!

  407. Thank you for the “gentle nudge” to finish up the jams in my pantry from last summer! I struggle with wanting to hang on to them (too sentimental, I know) and then it ends up being too long and the window of opportunity closes and I end up having to throw them away :( We’re hoping to pick strawberries tomorrow at Great Country Farm in Bluemont – if they’re not picked out from today!

  408. I just whipped up my first batch of jam for this season-Rhubarb Vanilla. Mmm. My husband was eating it with a spoon, and asked what kind “we” were going to make next. I’m pleased to have found your site for good advice and recipes. Thanks!

  409. My favorite part of jam making is giving it away. I never thought people would get so excited about it! :)

  410. Your blog is wondewrful. Am about to make the rhubarb strawberry confiture as well as peeling 2lbs of ginger.

  411. My young daughter loves to decorate the labels & put them on the cans… I can only hope this becomes our ritual for the years to come.

  412. So many great tips here. And so much inspiration, too, as always. Been positively loving your articles in the NYT, by the way! Wednesday has always been my favorite morning, but to see your articles has made them even better. ;o)

  413. As I sit here surrounded by Ball jars at a little after 6 a.m. on Memorial Day, seeig your contest was fantastic. Even pushed aside my cutting board to post. I’d really love a le creuset, it would have a good home here. Well back to work – family arriving for the prade in only 2 1/2 hrs.

  414. The thing I have to remember is that it’s a learning process, just like learning to cook and the more I do it, the more I’ll get better, learn about my tastes, etc. It’s like learning to cook all over again, which to me is the best part!

  415. Thanks for great tips & best giveaway. I have only made blueberry & strawberry jams in the past & have never had a really good heavy pan. As I’ve gotton more & more interested in try new recipes & canning I have fallen in love with Le Crueset products & have a dream list with this pot as #1. I dragged my husband into an Le Crueset outlet store to see what I was raving about, he agreed on the qualityetc& I was able to get a beautiful red teakettle on sale. I would love to win because at least for a while the rest will have to wait just can’t stretch the budget anymore. Maybe someday. Thanks for the chance.

  416. I’m a novice so I am reading your site with a vengeance! I would love to win!

    I love your instructions as they make me think I ‘can do’ it!

    Thanks again!

  417. Love the ten commandments of canning! I too have a canning outfit. Cute but stained, and of course with long sleeves. Now I’m psyched for canning season to start.

  418. What a wonderful giveaway, and such helpful tips. My favorite canning tip is to keep a friend nearby to help and then to share the bounty with! It always makes the quick process of filling, wiping, and lidding jars much easier.

  419. Never tried canning . . .on my to do list. The amazing LeCreuset would ensure that it would get done! Thanks for this amazing opportunity. Great tips to remove the mystery for the novice.

  420. Great tips! Love them. It is so important to be ready and have time. Some people just don’t understand that. Nothing worse then getting ready to pour your jam into jars and you forgot to heat the lids :)

  421. I call myself a true from the heart chef. I am always in the kitchen creating something delish for my husband and family. I’ve been canning for two or so months and am addicted. There are three of us going to the cannery once a week and now I am even canning at home. Love your website, so many tips and ideas. Can’t wait to try new recipes.

  422. I am new to canning. The last few days I have canned 26 quarts of peaches and 26 quarts of pears using the boiling method. I put the jars in the boiling water, returned the lid and set the timer for twenty minutes. I did not realize that I needed to wait for the water to return to a boil before I set the timer. Do you think my fruit will be safe to eat? The lids appear to have all sealed.

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